Smooth-toothed pocket gopher

Smooth-toothed pocket gopher
Smooth-toothed pocket gophers
Temporal range: Early Pliocene - Recent
Thomomys bottae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Geomyidae
Subfamily: Thomomyinae
Russell, 1968
Genus: Thomomys
Wied-Neuwied, 1839

Thomomys talpoides
Thomomys idahoensis
Thomomys clusius
Thomomys mazama
Thomomys monticola
Thomomys bulbivorus
Thomomys bottae
Thomomys townsendii
Thomomys umbrinus

The smooth-toothed pocket gophers, genus Thomomys, are so called because they are among the only pocket gophers without grooves on their incisors. They are also called the Western pocket gophers because they are distributed in western North America. They are considered distinct enough from other pocket gophers to be recognized as a separate subfamily or tribe.

Natural history

Thomomys is highly fossorial. They rely on their incisors for digging more than most other gophers. They feed on plants, largely from beneath the surface, but they do come above ground at night. Roots, stems, leaves, and bulbs are eaten. When not directly in an agricultural field they are a benefit to humans by enriching soil and preventing runoff.


Over a hundred subspecies have been described, but not all are currently recognized by modern authorities. Like many fossorial rodents, Thomomys shows a great deal of allopatric variation.

  • Thomomys
    • Subgenus Megascapheus
      • Thomomys clusius - Wyoming Pocket Gopher
      • Thomomys idahoensis - Idaho Pocket Gopher
      • Thomomys mazama - Western Pocket Gopher (including the extinct subspecies Thomomys mazama tacomensis - Tacoma Pocket Gopher)
      • Thomomys monticola - Mountain Pocket Gopher
      • Thomomys talpoides - Northern Pocket Gopher
    • Subgenus Thomomys
      • Thomomys bottae - Botta's Pocket Gopher
      • Thomomys bulbivorus - Camas Pocket Gopher
      • Thomomys townsendii - Townsend's Pocket Gopher
      • Thomomys umbrinus - Southern Pocket Gopher


  • Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Johns Hopkins University Press, London.

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